WE ARE FINALLY BACK! The PGA Tour returns to action this week at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. As expected, the Charles Schwab Challenge field is stacked; all of the top five players in the world are competing.
Colonial is a test of ball-striking for the pros. The par 70 course is just barely over 7,200 yards, but it punishes those who don’t control their ball. The tree-lined fairways place a premium on accuracy off the tee (often with less than driver), and the design of the course leaves an abundance of approach shots from 100 to 150 yards. Whoever is dialed in from that range will see plenty of makeable birdie putts inside 15 feet.
Let’s consider a few players to target for the Charles Schwab Challenge in your DraftKings and one-and-done leagues:
Webb Simpson $9,800
Simpson is the ideal fit for Colonial. He is accurate off the tee, has a solid wedge game, and is an elite putter. In this week’s field, he ranks sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach and first in SG: Putting. He has finished inside the top five in two of his last three visits to Colonial. Plus, Simpson has quietly been on a tear; he has finished in the top 30 in 17 of his last 18 events!
Harris English $7,500
Over the past few years, English has dedicated himself to improving his long game, and it shows. He used to be an erratic driver of the ball with a decent iron game; now he’s above Tour average in both categories. This improvement has allowed him to finish 17th or better in seven of 11 events this season. Even before he improved his ball-striking, however, English thrived at Colonial. He finished inside the top 30 in five of his six starts at this event. His very recent form seems solid as well: he finished runner-up at the 40-player exhibition event at Sea Island last week. All signs point to English going into the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Most one-and-done leagues are resuming this week. Some will end as regularly planned at the end of the FedEx Cup, while others have extended their seasons through the Masters in November. For this week, you may want to consider taking a player from the middle of the pack, as current form is a bit of an unknown for everyone. Saving the studs for later in the year is probably a wise move. Here are a few players to consider:
The 2019 champion at Colonial, Na has finished 13th or better in six of his twelve appearances. Na’s game is predicated on precise wedges and an elite short game, both skills that the course emphasizes. Given Na’s skillset, there aren’t many other courses on Tour where I would consider using him, so he’s a smart choice this week.
Palmer, a Colonial member, has a larger-than-usual home-field advantage this week. He has been playing this course a lot over the past few months. Also, he will be able to sleep in his own bed, avoiding the restrictions and potential discomfort other players will face in hotels and rental houses. Palmer has finished 14th or better in five of his past eight appearances at Colonial. Earlier this year, he had a close call at the Sony Open, and he followed that up with consistent play: he has finished 21st or better in six of his past eight starts.